The security risks of the “cybercar” industry continue to pile up. A Chinese security firm managed to hack into Tesla Model S. The car was hacked from a distance of up to 12 miles (or 20 meters.) The hacks were also possible while the car was on moving.
Exploits in Tesla Model S
The research into Tesla Motors’s security was carried out by Tencent Keen Security Lab. The discovered security exploits could control the workings of the automobile in the following ways:
- Tempering with the car’s windows, lights, and built-in displays. The car’s sunroof can also be controlled.
- Hacking the breaks. That’s probably the most dangerous discovery.
All the tests were conducted in a safe environment, but theoretically, the breaks can be hacked while the automobile is moving at high speeds. The methods used by Keen Security were reported to Tesla. The exploits were fixed in a new firmware update, which means that they won’t work on an updated vehicle. The tests were limited to the Model S. The firm warns that other Tesla cars are likely to be affected as well. Owners of Tesla automobiles should update their firmware ASAP.
Wireless Cars and Wireless hacking
It seems like all walk of life are getting more wireless as time goes on. Cars have used wireless keys for a long time now. Earlier this year, we reported on an exploit in Volkswagen’s locking system. Unlike the Tesla hacks, the mistake couldn’t be fixed with a firmware update and millions of cars were left vulnerable to the malicious trick.
What does the future hold? More similar exploits, probably. The usefulness of digital technology in our everyday life is undeniable, but it’s also dangerous. The exploits discovered by Keen Security Labs were fixed. However, it’s possible to find a different way of hacking the safety systems of cars. Even turning off the windshield wipers during a storm can have deadly consequences. Remote activation of the breaks while the car is moving at high speed can cause massive traffic accidents.
Some people fear a Terminator rise of the machine, our smart toasters firing burned slices of bread at us. The more likely risks of digitizing our future are smaller threats, remote carjacking by hackers, and even wireless terrorism, like the Nice day attacks, only with a self-driving car. The possibilities are endless and grim.
It may sound like the new breakthroughs in the car industry don’t lead to anything good, but that’s not true. There can be many benefits, provided the innovations put safety first. Because if car companies are going to continue digitizing their cars, they should invest more in cybersecurity.